Activists must recognize the surest way to get a strong public option that could compete with the Cadillac of health plans. We needed to mobilize millions of Netroots people, almost every union and 150 members of Congress to endorse a maximum demand: National health insurance . . . enhanced Medicare for All. In other words, a cost-effective single-payer system of publicly-financed, privately-delivered healthcare that ends private health insurance (and its waste, bureaucracy, ads, sales commissions, lavish executive salaries, profiteering).Cohen goes on to compare the health care debate with the efforts to end slavery, the Vietnam War, and segregation. Demand everything you want, even if it is more than you are willing to take in compromise.
Had liberal groups sent out millions of emails building a movement that posed an existential threat to the health insurance industry, Sen. Baucus and Blue Dog Democrats and their corporate healthcare patrons might well be on their knees begging for a comprehensive public option -- to avert the threat of full-blown Medicare for All.
The historical analogies are faulty, as is the negotiating strategy. Demanding too much will result in failure, but who cares at this point. I certainly do not want to get in the way of this strategy.
The Democrats should demand single-payer health care with a loud and clear voice. If they do, Cohen's prophecy of doom for the Democratic Party is sure to come true, although because of not in spite of, his advice:
Please go there. We can't do it without you.
And if Obama does fail, we can quit laughing at a Republican Party in disarray due to Bush, religious extremism, hypocrisy and anti-intellectualism.
Because in this period of crisis and fear, unless a progressively-prodded White House delivers reforms that actually improve lives soon, right wing reaction could rebound more dangerous than ever in 2010 and/or 2012.
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